Teen Levels Abuse Allegations Against Local Religious Education Center
A local 15-year-old boy and his father recently testified in the Sullivan County Court trial of the boy’s alleged sexual abuser. Haim Boukris, 29, of South Fallsburg, is on trial for predatory sexual assault and first-degree sexual abuse, two felonies carrying potential jail time of 25 years to life. Boukris is a rabbinical student at a South Fallsburg yeshiva. At the time of the abuse, the victim was 11 years old. Boukris has pled not guilty, denies the incident occurred, and continues to assert that he and the boy have never spoken to one another.
While Boukris had testified at an earlier hearing to having seen the boy on a number of occasions both at school and in the community, the man said that the two had never spoken one-on-one. The boy, unnamed to protect his identity, testified that the rabbinical student saw him walking near a grocery store when he offered him a ride home. While the boy admitted that he lived within walking distance of the grocery store, he said he accepted the ride because he was “confused.” The boy testified that Boukris then took him to a vacant bungalow colony and forced the boy to engage in sexual intercourse.
The boy’s father, also unnamed in media reports, described the moment when his son confessed the incident to him, two years after the alleged assault occurred. The father testified that the boy had become angrier, lost focus in school, become depressed, and begun wetting the bed over the years since the incident occurred, though he did not know the cause of this behavioral shift until later. The father described his reticence in coming forward with the accusations because of the feared backlash from the local Jewish community for reporting Boukris to the authorities.
As described in a prior post, victims of rape or sexual assault have the right to file a civil lawsuit for money damages against that perpetrator for any medical expenses, emotional distress, or pain and suffering caused by the assault, whether or not a criminal conviction is pursued or obtained against the person. Even if a criminal prosecution does not result in a conviction, the lower standard for proving a case against a defendant in a civil trial means that the accused could still face a monetary judgment for their wrongful acts. If the accused is convicted in a criminal trial, that conviction is admissible in a civil lawsuit as proof of the assault, making an award for the victim’s suffering even more likely.
If you have been the victim of a sexual assault or other crime in Goshen or throughout the Hudson Valley, contact personal injury law firm Dupée & Monroe for a consultation on your claims, at 845-294-8900.
UPDATE: On December 11th, a Sullivan County Court judge dismissed the case against Haim Boukris, based on a failure of the prosecution to present legally sufficient evidence at trial.